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  • snitzoid

I'm tired of DC crybabies complaining: "Oh the crime"!

Boohoo, too many illegals streaming in, the police are being thrown under the bus, and crime is spiking! Whine whine whine.

Honestly, things aren't that bad. This is just more propaganda by Fox News.

Violent Crime Is Surging in D.C. This Year: ‘We Just Stood There and Screamed’

A 38% spike in homicides is upending life for residents and businesses

By Scott Calvert, WSJ

Oct. 6, 2023 5:30 am ET

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In Washington Highlands, a chronically violent neighborhood in the nation’s capital, a dozen or so children who often meet up at a community center recently discussed what to do when gunfire erupts. Such lessons carry added urgency, facilitators say, amid a jump in shootings. One left an 18-year-old dead near the center in September.

In gentrified Shaw, where trendy restaurants dot blocks with condos listed for more than $1 million, unusually high levels of gun violence have longtime residents feeling under siege. As some businesses struggle or think of leaving, a prominent developer warns massive investment is “going down the tubes.”

Surging violent crime this year has spread fear and frustration across the District of Columbia, as police here struggle to curb the bloodshed at a time when many U.S. cities are seeing double-digit declines in homicides.

The district has had 216 homicides this year, 38% more than at this point in 2022—and more than any full year from 2004 to 2020, police data show. By contrast, killings are down this year in big cities from coast to coast: by 24% in Los Angeles, 19% in Houston, 18% in Philadelphia, 12% in Chicago, and 11% in New York City.

“I definitely think public safety has been and continues to be the No. 1 concern for district residents,” said Lindsey Appiah, D.C.’s deputy mayor for public safety. She said other types of crime drive fear, too. Robberies are up 70%, and car thefts have more than doubled.

High-rise apartments tower over rowhouses in the Shaw neighborhood in Washington.

A police vehicle patrols near the Washington Highlands Family Success Center in D.C.

District officials have added more visible police patrols and enforced the juvenile curfew. The D.C. Council in July passed emergency legislation making it easier to detain criminal suspects pretrial. Appiah said violent crime fell after the law took effect, and the jail population swelled by about 25%.

On Monday, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas was carjacked in the city, becoming the second member of Congress this year to experience a violent crime in D.C.

House Republicans in March blocked an overhaul of D.C.’s antiquated criminal code, calling the Democratic-led district’s new code soft on crime. Local officials said the lawmakers misrepresented the code overhaul.

No single reason explains D.C.’s violent crime increase, law-enforcement officials say. They cite factors such as the steady flow of illegal guns, a depleted police force and lingering effects of pandemic disruptions—issues not unique to Washington. They also note homicides in D.C. fell 10% in 2022, a steeper drop than most other big cities saw.

Police tape blocks a driveway near an intersection where a high-school student was shot and killed in the Shaw area of Washington last month; a D.C. officer carries caution tape after the shooting of a 21-year-old man in the district; a sign prohibiting weapons hangs at a new restaurant in D.C.

But in the district, most crimes committed by adults are prosecuted by an appointed U.S. attorney, not an elected district attorney. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves has taken flak for declining during fiscal year 2022 to charge, at the time of arrest, 67% of offenses that would have been tried in D.C. Superior Court, the usual venue for non-federal crimes.

Graves, in office since 2021, said the rate is driven by several factors beyond his control, one being the D.C. crime lab’s lack of accreditation. He also said his staff’s charging rate was higher for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, though his office hasn’t released figures.

Fatal shootings have spiked this year in Washington Highlands, a low-income neighborhood with two-story brick rowhouses facing tree-lined streets. Fifteen people have been killed by gunfire in 2023, up from eight at this time last year, city figures show. Assistant Police Chief Carlos Heraud said he thinks the violence in that part of Southeast D.C., near the Maryland line, is largely driven by beefs between rival “crews.” The police department has boosted patrols in Southeast, Appiah said.


What can D.C. do to address violent crime? Join the conversation below.

Washington Highlands resident Holly Scott, 52 years old, said she now leaves earlier for her public-transit commute to an overnight job as a case manager, nervous about being on neighborhood streets late at night. She also carries her licensed gun. “To protect myself,” she said, “because it happens that randomly.”

Julia Tutt, a family-engagement specialist at the public-housing community center on 9th Street, said a constant police presence is needed. “We don’t feel safe,” she said.

One recent evening, she corralled a group of youths ages 8 to 16 for their regular meet-up at the center, a converted rowhouse. Tutt asked what to do if bullets fly. The consensus: Ducking is generally better, as running could draw gunfire.

Several children said the temptation to flee is strong. “Twice I did what you said, I hit the floor,” 12-year-old Glenn Washington told Tutt. But in one case he took off. “I was with other people. I saw them run, I got scared, so I ran, too,” he said.

Later, Glenn said he hoped to graduate from college. “Another one of my goals,” he added, “is to be able to survive and live life until I’m a full-grown adult.”

Julia Tutt scolds a boy for crossing the street without looking for cars outside of the Washington Highlands Family Success Center in D.C.

City officials said a rise in violent crime in parts of the city generally unaccustomed to it has broadened the public’s anxiety. Criminologist Thomas Abt, founding director of the Center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reduction at the University of Maryland, said violence typically concentrated in poorer areas can spill over.

In Shaw, 77-year-old Gretchen Wharton has spent her life in a neighborhood once home to luminaries such as Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes. She saw the area left scarred by the district’s 1968 riots and later by the crack epidemic in the mid-1980s, before its recent revival.

Now that turnaround feels tenuous. “I don’t walk around here like I used to because I’m afraid,” said Wharton, who chairs the board of Shaw Main Streets, a revitalization group started in 2003. “It’s hard to want to come out of your house.”

Gretchen Wharton, a lifelong resident of Shaw, says, ‘I don’t walk around here like I used to because I’m afraid.’

So far this year, 21 people have been killed in Ward 1, covering a swath of Shaw plus other neighborhoods, up from 14 all last year, police data show. Four homicides have occurred in the area where Shaw Main Streets works, and six others around the nearby U Street nightlife corridor. A number of shootings grew out of disputes inside clubs, said Ward 1 Council Member Brianne Nadeau, though city officials point to crew-related violence.

Leola Smith says she doesn’t feel safe after witnessing a shooting outside her D.C. home.

Longtime Shaw resident Leola Smith, 73, said she spends weekends with her daughter in Maryland after a spate of violence, including a nonfatal shooting in August she witnessed outside her home. “I’m not safe. Nobody is safe around here,” she said.

Wanda Henderson said sales at her normally packed hair salon, Wanda’s on 7th, are down 45% from two years ago. Crime scares her clients and stylists alike, she said. Last month, she said she was escorting a client to her car when someone began running around with a knife threatening to stab another person.

“We just stood there and screamed,” Henderson said.

A block from the salon, just past T Street, a fatal shooting occurred outside a nearby takeout one afternoon in June, according to police.

The owners of Right Proper Brewing, a T Street anchor for the past decade, said they will move the brewpub when their lease ends unless there is a drastic improvement in conditions, including with public drug use.

“People don’t want to come hang out in Shaw anymore, period,” said their landlord Steven Cassell, whose company developed the residential, retail and office complex. “There’s just a ton of investment that’s going down the tubes.”

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